South African rugby is highly regarded throughout the world and has a long and impressive list of achievements worthy of mention. Rugby in South Africa was once considered a sport intended to be supported and enjoyed by white South Africa, with soccer as the alternative for blacks. The South African political climate and various initiatives aimed at encouraging integrated national teams has seen rugby find its way to black homes and the hearts of young boys who dream of being the next Akhona Ndungana or ‘Beast’ Nyirende.
South Africa has been a proud and capable host of many prestigous sports events presented on the world stage such as the 1995 IRB World Cup. The Super 14, Currie Cup and Tri-Nations tournaments are only some that have seen players like Bryan Habana, Percy Montgomery and Schalk Burger forge solid reputations as world-class players that their respective clubs and the national team can rely on to produce excellent rugby and inspiring performances.
Rugby in South Africa is governed by the South African Rugby Union. SARU recently parted ways with outspoken former Springbok coach Peter De Villiers. Heyneke Meyer takes over from the controversial De Villiers and his target is to take South African rugby to new heights by working together with the Union and players to improve the standard of rugby in the country. The South African Rugby Union’s priorities include improving and maintaining a high level of performance in rugby, general sportsmanship and discipline and developing the sport in communities.
South Africans are loyal and passionately support provincial teams such as the Blue Bulls from Pretoria and the Natal Sharks based in Durban. A match between the Blue Bulls and the Natal Sharks is always guaranteed to produce drama, action and suspense. Games between these two teams are always hard to call and this makes for interesting betting. Rugby matches are shown on radio and TV on a regular basis. Other teams that are the pride and joy of their respective provinces include the Cheetahs and Lions.